New health body’s appeal for public help

The Harrogate CCG's current home at The Hamlet, Hornbeam Park.
The Harrogate CCG's current home at The Hamlet, Hornbeam Park.
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Patients and members of the public can help shape the future of healthcare in the Harrogate district after a major change in the way health services are managed.

Responsibility for the district’s healthcare has transferred to the newly formed Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (HaRD CCG) as part of a nationwide shake up of NHS management.

The CCG represents 19 district GP practices and is responsible for providing - or buying in - health care services for the area’s 160,000 population out of a £180million budget.

Now the group has launched a patient participation network – called HaRD Net – to give feedback and help monitor and improve services. Managers are appealing for local people including patients, carers, and people from the voluntary sector to get involved.

Anyone who wants to take part can visit the CCG’s website at www.harrogateandruraldistrictccg.nhs.uk and click on “Get Involved”. Alternatively, contact the group by phone on 01423 859632.

The group has also announced that monthly meetings of it governing body will take place in public – giving members of the public chance to speak to the board members.

The governing body is made up of six local GPs including Clinical Chair of the CCG, Ripon-based GP Dr Alistair Ingram, as well as a lay member and managers.

Among the board members is Harrogate GP Dr Rick Sweeney, who has responsibility for care for vulnerable people including older people’s mental health care– one of the district’s biggest health care challenges.

Recent years have seen protracted controversies over the future of care for older people, especially dementia care, and the Harrogate district has higher than average proportion of over 65s in the population.

Of more than 158,000 people, more than 20percent are over 65, compared with 15percent nationally, the CCG’s figures show.

The CCG received its formal “authorisation” as a statutory body allowed to operate and buy health services on Thursday, February 21, and has since announced details of its plans for the district.

The group will have to take on part of the former NHS body for North Yorkshire’s deficit. North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust had a financial deficit of around £12million and the new Harrogate CCG will have take on around £1.73million of this, the CCG’s Chief Finance Officer Bernard Chalk has said.